Moscow gay pride organizers lost an appeal of a slander case against Mayor Yuri Luzhkov on Oct. 11 and now plan to move to the European Court of Human Rights.
Nikolai Baev and Nikolai Alekseev sought a retraction of Luzhkov’s statement that gay pride parades are “satanic” and asked for 2,000 rubles ($80) in damages.
On Jan. 29, Luzhkov said: “Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the gay parade, which can be described in no other way than as satanic. We did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future. Some European nations bless single-sex marriages and introduce sexual guides in schools. Such things are a deadly moral poison for children.”
The appeals court, the Moscow City Court, agreed with a lower court that Luzhkov had not attacked Alekseev and Baev personally, but only the gay parade in general. They also concurred that Luzhkov was expressing a personal opinion.
“We are planning to send a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights,” Alekseev said after the ruling. “It is absolutely clear that the aim of [the] Moscow mayor was not only to refuse the human rights event that we wanted to stage … but also to show us, as organizers of this event, in [an] unethical and immoral light.”
Luzhkov banned the city’s first two gay pride parades this year and last. When organizers responded by staging protest rallies, they were violently attacked by neofascists, skinheads, Christians and riot police.